Shop Resources My Classroom My World Home Instagram Youtube TeachersPayTeachers Pinterest Facebook Email Image Map

April 4, 2021

New Address!

 We've Moved!

Check us out at

June 27, 2020

Teaching Young Children Optimism and Resilience During Challenging Times

The last few months have been filled with fear, worry, sadness, grief, and violence. It's been stressful for adults, so I can only imagine how our children are doing during this time.  I do enjoy my time off in the summer, but I miss creating a safe space for students to discuss issues that are going on in the world.  It helps to process events when they are discussed openly and honestly.  Our children need to know that despite COVID-19 and acts of injustice, they can make a difference in their community.   

What can we do to help our students or children who feel like there is nothing they can offer?  Make sure you don't dismiss what concerns or worries a child is having.  Let them know that you hear what they have to say and understand how they're feeling.  Be honest!  

Sarah Lynne Reul wrote The Breaking News (affiliate link) from a child's perspective of what happens after a community receives terrible news.  It also lets the reader know that small things can bring about significant change.  Our children have seen a variety of events that leave us all uncomfortable, but we need to talk about it.

The story doesn't have a lot of text.  The illustrations tell more than the words on each page.  You can review some vocabulary words that relate to the story and give meaning to what's going on in the world. 

Discussion questions can be used to get a productive conversation going or as writing prompts. 

Children can talk about the emotions and feelings that are displayed in the story through the illustrations.  Naming feelings is the first step in helping kids learn to identify them.  We want our children to develop an emotional vocabulary so they can identify emotions in others.  Empathy is crucial during times like this.  Make correlations between how the characters feel in the story to how their families are feeling in real-life.

Having children identify their strengths will show them how they can help out the community or their families.  They will realize that they have something to offer and that they can contribute things that no one else can.  Identifying these strengths is crucial to a healthy self-identity.  

We can teach our children that they can make a difference in their community, and small gestures have a big impact.  

This story is a great ice breaker to get the conversation started. Leave a comment and let me know how you discussed what's going on in the world with your children. I would love to hear from you!

March 24, 2020

Using A Podcast for Listening and Speaking Skills

Podcasts are a great resource to use for listening and speaking skills. You can listen to the episode before the students to create a list of comprehension questions.  I like to use a graphic organizer while listening to the broadcast.  This does take practice and you will need to model how to do this with students.  My students enjoy listening to each episode!  I split the episode in half if it is longer than 25 minutes to make it a two-day activity.  Speaking skills come into play when we have discussions about the podcast. 

school house rap podcast lesson

This podcast has longer stories and I love the rich vocabulary!   

school house rap podcast lesson

I use this podcast with my fourth and fifth grade ESOL students at one of the schools I teach.  Most of the group enjoys sci-fi, so it was perfect. This serialized podcast tells the story of an 8-year old boy living on an interplanetary space station who explores the galaxy and solves mysteries with his friends.

We use a graphic organizer to help with remembering what we have heard during the podcast.  It has a few components to it.  We fill out new vocabulary words we hear.  We've talked about words that have meaning to us or our favorite words.  Students can pick new words or words that they like to use.  My students know I love the word "expeditiously" 😁.  They know the meaning of the word because I use it when it's time to transition...consistently.  

The notes section is for jotting down words or phrases that help identify the main idea and details of the episode.  It took some practice to do this because my students wanted to write complete sentences.  I told them to think of it as the brainstorm step of the writing process.  

 The connections portion of the organizer can be filled out during or after.  I let students know that they may need to jot down a few details to complete after the podcast is over.  

The remaining sections are filled out at the end of the podcast.  We ask questions about anything that is unclear.  This will be used when students share their organizers with each other.  Most of the time, they can answer each other's questions.

Students will also make predictions about the next episode.  We spend about 10 minutes discussing our predictions.  This is where you can help build schema or correct misinformation.

The last part of the organizer is the section where the students can draw a picture or doodle about the episode. 

Students can share their completed organizer with a classmate.  Partners discover new information that they may not have recognized while listening to the podcast.  

Printable Version
There is great value in sharing viewpoints and ideas.  This is an awesome activity to help improve the listening skills of any learner!

March 22, 2020

Moving Ahead with Distance Learning Days

Moving Ahead with Distance Learning Days

I believe one of the best ways to help our children right now is to maintain a schedule and some sense of routine.  Repetition has been shown to help in stressful situations.  It limits the amount of decision making we need throughout the day.  If you didn’t have a schedule in place last Monday, it’s okay, start today!
Let your children help make the schedule.  Plan a few days in advance but make adjustments along the way.  Children love being able to have a choice and feeling that what they think matters.  

Have an area set up in the house that is distraction-free, away from the TV. 

Incorporate movement and healthy snacks during the learning time as well.  No one learns when they’re hungry!

Talk about what went right and what needs improvement at the end of the “school” day.  Do you need to add more time to your math block?  Do you need more resources to help your child?  Debrief and adjust the plan for the next day of learning. 

Know that you have teachers across the country who are an email or direct message away, willing to help!

Stay healthy and keep going!

March 19, 2020

Too Much Screen Time???

Here are some activities you can do with your children that won’t involve a computer.  Incorporate a few non-screen activities you can do at home for fun while still learning.

Click for a printable copy

March 17, 2020

Tips for Parents Who are Homeschooling...Against Their Will

I know the thought of homeschooling your children may bring tears…and not tears of joy.  However, it doesn’t need to be stressful.  You just need a plan! Here are some tips that may help you and your child survive the long days ahead.

   1. Write out a daily schedule -This will help organize the materials needed and answer questions about upcoming assignments.  This will give you time to contact the teacher to clear up confusion about the activities.  I’m sure the teachers have given a list of assignments to complete during the time off.  Spread the assignments out if possible.  Here is an example of the schedule that I’m using with my granddaughter.  She loves pink, but I included a black and white version.

  Make sure to make a copy of the file before you start to edit.  

2.    Structure and Consistency-Your child has left an extremely structured environment and may need that structure in order to be successful with learning. Set up times for each subject area based on the length of the assignments.  Most students who have never had to self-pace their education will not learn automatically because we tell them to do so.  Once you find a schedule that works, keep with it. 

3.    Reflect and Debrief-Talk about the activities that were completed during the day.  Do you need to adjust the times for each subject area?  Do you NEED to contact the teacher for clarification? Do you need to supplement an activity with one of the many free programs that companies are offering? Discuss how the day went and what can be done tomorrow to make it better. 

4.    Plan for Breaks-Every moment of the day doesn’t need to be filled with work.  It’s okay to build in time for physical activity away from the computer. 

Stay healthy and enjoy these moments together!

January 26, 2020